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Raging against the machine

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IOL Jim

Debashine Thangevelo

THERE was something utterly captivating about the vigilante-type scenarios that played out in Person of Interest.

The premise centred on billionaire Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), who, despite his genius as a software programmer, is a social pariah. After 9/11, he designed a computer system to suss out future terrorist attacks, but it ended up doing a bit more – it identified crimes that were going to happen to ordinary people, too.

And so he hired former CIA operative John Reese (Jim Caviezel), who was presumed dead but was actually living in the shadows of the city, to aid him in preventing the crimes.

Of course, the success story, thanks to The Machine’s help, has registered on the wrong radars as well. And the crime-fighting team, aided by NYPD detectives Joss Carter (Taraji P Henson), and Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman), find themselves facing new threats in their covert operation.

In season three, many futures hang in limbo as they try to locate The Machine. Meanwhile, Root (Amy Acker), a cyber-criminal who is not to be underestimated or trusted, has become obsessed with freeing The Machine from all outside control.

In a chat with Digital Spy, Caviezel gave insight into how the producers plan to take the show to new heights in season three.

On Carter’s death, he commented: “The writers keep things pretty close to the chest. Without giving away any of their secrets, I can tell you that it was a pretty big shock for everyone involved.”

As for Acker – the new addition to the cast – she told Collider.com, “Really, any chance I can have to torture one of my fellow cast mates is gonna be a fun one.”

Although her character was brought in for a story arc, she became more rooted in the rolling storyline – something she calls a “pleasant surprise”.

Commenting on the show’s effortless ingratiation with viewers, creator and executive producer, Jonathan Nolan, told Collider.com: “It’s an incredibly durable and compelling format.”

Co-executive producer Greg Plageman added: “There’s the stand-alone aspect of the story. And then there’s always got to be this larger serialised aspect. There’s always got to be some sort of mythology pushing that bigger story forward. So the general rule is, ‘does this intrigue us?’ The issue some people have with broadcast television, or when ‘procedural’ became a dirty word, was when it started to feel formulaic. We want to be an inviting show people can drop into…”

Of course, when personal tales are interwoven into the fabric of the story, especially where viewers gain a better understanding of their favourite character’s past, which talks to their actions, it heightens the drama. Person of Interest does that well while also marrying technology, which is a major component, to its storytelling.

That it has Caviezel fronting the action – well, that’s the ultimate enticement.

Person of Interest, M-Net Series Showcase (DStv channel 113), on Tuesday at 9pm.


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